Massage Can Boost Your Immune System & You Can Get One at Home
When you live a daily existence of being concerned about your health and immune system, finding a tool or treatment that not only works but doesn’t cost a fortune or cause discomfort is way more than good news. It’s life changing.
Many health benefits of massage therapy are well known, including increasing range of motion, better coordination, and minimized stress and anxiety. Getting a massage assists the body to relax, and now it seems that it also benefits your immune system, according to a new study.
A massage can be incredible for your wellness and immune health, and those who get to enjoy regular sessions can see boosts to their immune and endocrine response.
What Does the Research Show?
The chairman of Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences and the lead author of a study on massage’s health benefits, a Dr. Mark Rapaport says:
“Massage is popular in America, with [nearly] 9[%] of adults receiving at least one massage within the past year. People [frequently] seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response [after a ] massage until now."
In a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine funded by the National Institutes of Health, 29 participants received 45 minutes of Swedish massage and 24 received 45 minutes of light touching as a control by therapists trained in how to deliver both Swedish and light touch using specific and identical protocols.
Then, the participants had blood samples taken during the study session. They rested quietly for 30 minutes before beginning, then blood samples were collected from each person five minutes and one minute before the massage started. At the end of the 45-minute session, blood samples were collected at one, five, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes following the massage.
It seems like a lot but this thorough investigation allowed the doctors and researchers to really understand what massage does to the body and how it helps the immune system.
According to the study, it looks like a massage can help the body to fight off common ailments like the flu or a cold and according to Jeff Smoot, the 2015 President of the American Massage Therapy Association, it can help those with compromised immune systems as well. He says:
“Researchers [attending] patients with compromised immune systems have [seen that] massage therapy can improve how the immune system functions. [It's those] benefits [that] can translate to [individuals looking] to fight off the common cold, flu, and other seasonal illnesses.”
The researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said in a statement that it looks like those who received a 45-minute massage showed an increased number of lymphocytes, our white blood cells that play a crucial role in defending the body from outside threats.
"This research indicates that massage doesn't only feel good, it also may be good for you," said study researcher Dr. Mark Rapaport. This is some great news for those of us who are immunocompromised or even just sick. As a person with immune system issues myself, I love the idea of being able to help my body that actually feels good.
The massage was responsible for other physical changes, too. Following those 45-minute sessions, participants had lower levels of cytokines, which are molecules that play a role in inflammation. Persistent high levels of inflammation are often related to conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
The massages also had an impact on participants' hormone levels. Getting a massage helps to lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone , and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior.
What are the Benefits to the Immune System?
As we saw, those people who got a Swedish massage saw a big change in lymphocyte levels, following the massage sessions. White blood cells help fight off viruses, and when your immune system needs help, that’s a great benefit.
Swedish massage also causes a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can contribute to stress reduction and management. And as we know from other research, stress affects the immune system and can make it that much easier to get sick.
Massage has also been shown to increase immune function in HIV positive adolescents. The therapy has even been shown to improve immunity among women with stage 1 and 2 breast cancer.
What are the Other Health Benefits?
Massage for wellness can improve patients lives and treat health problems a plethora of additional ways as well. Additional, health benefits of massage can include:
- Regulation of autonomic nervous system activity
- Encourages proper function from the circulatory, lymphatic, & hormonal systems
- Improves posture and joint issues
- Reduces arthritis and sciatica pain
Finally, Rapaport says, “It appears that a single massage may deliver a measurable benefit.”
Now that’s what we want to hear. But, could there be a way to make it even better? Why, yes there is.
Massage Chairs for Increased Benefit
When you’re immunocompromised, leaving the house for a massage can actually be really scary. After all, reducing contact with potential threats is a lot harder when you go into a public space. For all those dealing with these issues, especially now during a pandemic, being able to get a massage right in your bedroom is an amazing way to capitalize on these benefits without having to risk exposure by going outside.
By taking home a massage chair that offers several massage programs, you can take advantage of the immune strengthening effects and receive an incredible massage at the same time. Plus, massage chairs are known to be as effective as a hand massage without having to spend as much time doing so. A 15-minute massage in your chair can be extremely beneficial and the perfect compliment to your morning or evening routine.
Taking home a massage chair can also be more affordable than regular massage at a spa or clinic. Instead of having to pay for a massage every time for the foreseeable future, once you purchase and pay off your massage chair, it’s yours. There’s financing options available to help you pay on your schedule or you can look into a floor model to snag a deal.
With all that in mind, a massage chair is a smart investment in your health and happiness.
Finished With Your Research?
So just remember, take the time to enjoy your massage chair, but don’t overdo it. You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the physical benefits each of the styles offer and what to be prepared for from them. If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!